PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG 'FLOWER BOMB SONGS'
Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from ’60s music magazines.
THE REMO FOUR – ’In The First Place’ (Pilar 02V) unreleased 1967 recording
Back in the late 90s American director Joe Massot decided to re-release his 1968 film ’Wonderwall’ after it started to get some recognition from the music press and in particular Noel Gallagher who was the lead guitarist and songwriter for Oasis.
He’d seen the movie on late night TV during the early hours and decided to write a song with the same title. A massive hit followed, along with renewed interest for the ignored 60s flick ’Wonderwall’.
The movie soundtrack was created by George Harrison who recruited Liverpool group The Remo Four to be his backing band. It has since been revealed that John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton also participated, although they remained uncredited due to contractual reasons at the time.
Massot set about tracking down all the original elements of the soundtrack. Several masters were located in the tape libraries of Abbey Road Studios and EMI’s Bombay studios. However there were still some music cues missing. Massot decided to contact George Harrison to see if he could be of assistance.
Harrison searched deep in his personal vaults and eventually located all the multi-track masters that he had created for the movie. He passed the tapes to Massot to be used for the soundtrack restoration. It was then that Joe Massot made his startling discovery.
The tapes contained most of the missing music cues. The Wonderwall tapes also included a hidden gem. Apparently Harrison had been working on a SONG for the movie – called ”In the First Place”. However since the commission had been for instrumental music and there seemed to be no obvious location for a song in the movie – he had not bothered to submit the track to the film’s director!
The song was an extremely strong piece of psychedelic pop – in the style of the Beatles’ ’Blue Jay Way’ recorded by Harrison just weeks before the Wonderwall sessions. The atmospheric style perfectly matched the movie’s mood.
Since he was in the process of re-editing the film, Massot felt that he could find a way to include this long-lost gem. In fact he wanted to use it as the film’s theme song. He approached Harrison with news of his discovery and his request.
Wonderwall is apparently a project Harrison still feels great pride in. It was the first time that he was commissioned for a project as a creative person outside of the Beatles. Harrison considered the request – and he readily agreed to the use of his recording in the film. He even gave permission for the song to be commercially released as a single in conjunction with the reissue of Wonderwall.
He sought just two minor conditions. Though the song was produced by him, clearly features his lead vocal, and is heavily influenced by his ’Blue Jay Way’ eastern/psychedelic style of composition and arrangement – he was not actually the song’s composer. It had been written by two of his session players for the Wonderwall soundtrack. The composers were Colin Manley and Tony Ashton – two members of the disintegrating Remo Four group.
Harrison first of all wanted to be sure that his fellow Liverpudlian musician pals were properly credited for their composition – and that the song was not erroneously represented as having been his composition. (He acknowledged having been the sole producer of the recording – and agreed to accept the official credit as producer.)
Secondly, Harrison did not want to be officially credited as the artist or as a vocalist on the record. The song had been written by two members of a group that was barely in existence at the time of the recording – and that had indeed officially disbanded shortly after the Wonderwall sessions.
But the recording had included the instrumental playing of its four members. The group – though never commercially successfully – was a well-respected Liverpool group which had provided instrumental backing for many local artists. Harrison’s guest performance on the 1970 Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album attested to his affection for his ex-Remo Four musician pals.
The shy and retiring “quiet Beatle” – Harrison requested that the track be officially credited as a performance by The Remo Four.
At the time he took this decision, Harrison was also aware that none of the four members of the defunct group were in good financial health and that one of the song’s two composers – Colin Manley (who in recent years played with another old Liverpool group The Swingin’ Blue Jeans) – was also in poor physical health. In fact Manley died just a few months later.
Close friends say that Harrison’s insistence on sole credit going to a forgotten and long unsung band of pals (and to not take any credit for his performance) is a typically generous gesture by the reclusive ex-Beatle.
Two stereo mixes of ’In The First Place’ were remastered. One of them is the original Abbey Road Mix which is much longer. The second is the movie mix. Both are supreme examples of UK psychedelia.
THE YOUNG IDEA – ’With A Little Help From My Friend’/’Colours Of Darkness’ (Columbia DB 8205) June 1967
The Young Idea were a song writing duo who had a big hit with The Beatles’ ’With A Little Help From My Friends’ in the Summer of 1967. It reached #10.
Tony Cox and Douglas Macrae-Brown penned the far more interesting flip ’Colours Of Darkness’. This side is a well produced pop psycher with touches of the baroque with the sweetening strings and finger cymbols.
This hit record gave them the opportunity to record an album which was released in ’68. The cover shows the duo jazzed up in their new Kings Road threads and Small Faces haircuts. They just look like a couple of posh kids in trendy gear to me though.
Footnote: the title of the song under review lent it’s name to a volume of Rubble in the early 90s.
THE DOWNLINERS SECT – ’Rock ’n Roll Music’ (RBCSP 002) (recording 1964)
I never knew this but in 1964 The Downliners Sect recorded four songs that were gonna form their follow up EP to ’At Nite In Great Newport Street’.
Unfortunately, the tape went missing and the songs have remained unheard until now!
The tape was bought in a ’job lot’ of tapes from an eBay auction in 2009 and remarkably, the missing Downliners Sect tape was among them. The music contained on the manky old tape is very lo-fi sounding but it is indeed a valuable and historic document for Downliners Sect completists available now on this limited edition vinyl only EP.
THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS – ’Good Golly Miss Molly’/’Das Ist Prima’ (Electrola E 22 734) 1964
I doubt you’ll find these two Swinging Blue Jeans cuts on any ’Best Of’ collection but that’s where Circles 8 comes to the rescue. The group were formed in Liverpool during late 50s and were playing merseybeat at The Cavern Club long before The Beatles happened to run riot there.
It seems that The Swinging Blue Jeans recorded these songs (vocals in German) during their stint in Germany, possibly Hamburg. They were probably recorded in late 1963 or early 1964.
The English version of ’Good Golly Miss Molly’ was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London on 14th February 1964.
Both sides really rock in a good merseybeat way with an almost ’live’ feel. There’s a crackin’ guitar break on ’Good Golly’ but ’Das Ist Prima’ is little more restraint with heavy use of harmonica. Really hot stuff by The Swinging Blue Jeans.
Ralph Ellis (guitar/vocals)
Norman Kublke (drums)
Ray Ennis (guitar/vocals)
Les Braid (drums)
THE POETS – ’Now We’re Thru’/’There Are Some’ (Decca F.11995) October 1964
Glasgow beat group The Poets are now widely known among 60s beat fans but at the time they were largely ignored then forgotten. That was until they were re-discovered in the mid 80s on those super cool Bam Caruso Rubble compilations.
’Now We’re Thru’ was released the month I was born. I was just too young to put on a pair of Cuban heels and hot foot it down to my local Woolworths Store to buy the 45.
Fortunately, my lack of purchase power did not matter as the record scrambled into the lower 30s on the Pop Chart and can be considered a minor hit.
The song is a moody and dense mix of sound, with layers of 12 string guitar. The echoey production by Andrew Loog Oldham adds to the songs ethereal sonics.
THE GIBSONS – ’Night And Day’/’City Life’ (Major Minor MAM 504) 1967
The Gibsons released seven singles on various labels (CBS, Deram and Major Minor) but most of them are in the square pop genre and not 45s Flower Bomb Songs would be interested in. ’Night And Day’ treads that well worn path of forgettable pop music but the flip ’City Life’ is the sound The Gibsons should have ventured more into.
’City Life’ (as reviewed in 117 – circa 1992) ”Is droll mod observations a la Fresh Windows”…couldn’t have put it better myself so I won’t try. The label image shown is my copy of the Belgium release. Maybe the record faired better on the Continent?
C: Oh wow, I just had a shock seeing a piece of artwork I did way back when – I drew that (rather corny) cover of 117 (as it happens to be something my husband collaborated on, and if I say it myself, well, what a great little ‘zine!) Must thank you for the mention!
No way is your drawing ‘corny’….I bought all of those 117 fanzines 20 odd years ago when the team was printing it on an irregular basis. One day I’ll probably write an entry about those 117’s. I enjoyed reading them at the time although some of the writers were complete piss takers.
C: Thanks, great that you had those 117s, if you ever write a post on them I’ll look out for it! We still have ours. Yes, they did enjoy being somewhat irreverent and liked a bit of tongue-in-cheek antagonism..! I did the first 5 covers and some of the inner a/w. Happy days! Loving your blog.
117 was a fabulous magazine, all 9 issues are full of the best UK psych writing. John had the best sale lists – I picked up Equals, Primrose Circus, Clear Light 45’s at rock bottom prices. It would be lovely to see a piece on this fantastic read.
C: Nice to see these comments! Yes 117 was the (at times, delightfully warped) brainchild of John Faulkner and my husband. Funnily enough we’d been re-reading it recently – just before I saw this post (and still like The Gibsons’ City Life – seeing as that’s what triggered this!)
DEAN FORD AND THE GAYLORDS – ’He’s A Good Face, But He’s Down And Out’/’You Know It Too’ (Columbia DB 7805) January 1966
They were saddled from the onset with an appalling name but I suppose the word ’gaylord’ wasn’t associated homosexuals like it is nowadays. That said, the group were from Glasgow and quite popular in Scotland during the early to mid 60s, appearing on some local TV Shows.
’He’s A Good Face, But He’s Down And Out’ is a decent mod beat song with some pleasant harmonies but it flopped so the group relocated to London and changed their name to The Marmalade and enjoyed much success with square pop records, although their B-Sides were often classy psychedelic affairs.
Got to mention this was written by AL KOOPER/Irwin Levine who co-wrote ”This Diamond Ring,” ”I Can’t Quit Her,” Pitney’s ”I Must be Seeing Things” and many others. Thanks!
THE LIMEYS – ’Cara-lin’/’Feel So Blue’ (Decca F.12382) April 1966
Not a great deal is known about The Limeys, a couple of reference guides state that they hailed from North London but that’s about it. ’Cara-lin’ was their third single and is a version of The Strangeloves classic.
The song has also been recorded by The Sorrows (it’s on their album) and Australian performer Johnny Young, where it was a decent sized hit.
The Limeys version though disappeared without trace. Shame because it’s an absolute blast with some serious fuzz guitar work and bass runs that are so loud they could move mountains. It’s certainly a terrific sound and deserved a better fate.
THE OPEN MIND – ’Magic Potion’/’Cast A Spell’ (Acme AD451038) originally released on (Philips BF 1805) August 1969
About 10 years ago the small independent label Acme reissued the ultra rare LP by The Open Mind and with it came a bonus 45 of ’Magic Potion’.
The stereo mastertapes were used for the release, although the original 45 has the mono mix.
Back in 1967 they were known as The Drag Set and their mod beat winner ’Day And Night’ was released on the CBS subsidiary Go. By ’68 they had changed their moniker to the more progressive sounding Open Mind and signed to Philips.
’Magic Potion’ was their second single after the flop ’Horses And Chariots’ but once again fame and fortune failed to materialize and The Open Mind would remain unknown until those Bam Caruso Rubble compilations in the 80s.
’Magic Potion’ attacks the senses with loud fuzz embellished with a twin lead guitar barrage. It also pleases with it’s wah wah phase during the instrumental break. Quite astonishing really!
Mike Brancaccio – Guitar/Vocals
Timothy De Feu – Bass
Phil Fox – Drums
Terry Martin – Guitar/Vocals
THE BARRIER – ’Georgie Brown’/’Dawn Breaks Through’ (Eyemark EMS 103) April 1968
I’ll continue my ’Made In Britain’ series with this potent mod psych winner from London based group The Barrier (they were also known as The Purple Barrier)
Forget the A-Side ’Georgie Brown’, this sing-a-long with trumpets and the old joanna just ain’t my scene.
Stick with the intense flip ’Dawn Breaks Through’….Both songs were recorded in late 1967 at Tony Pike Studios in Putney, London and released on the tiny independent label Eyemark several months later.
EPISODE SIX -’I Can See Through You’/’When I Fall In Love’ (Pye 7N 17376) Oct 1967 (stereo)
Whenever plaudits and various lists of the very best English psychedelic songs are written in magazines and reference guides, this majestic slice of aural acid by Episode Six never gets a mention.
’I Can See Through You’ written by Roger Glover has been a firm favourite of mine ever since I heard it on an old Eva comp in the mid 80s. Over the years I’ve looked for an original mono 45 but have never seen it for sale.
Fortunately I’ve got a great vinyl Episode Six LP comp from 1987 on PRT Records which collects all of their PYE singles. BUT they’ve used the stereo masters…never mind.
’I Can See Through You’ is laden with ideas and could almost be three songs in one, the pace changes from quick to slow, with bursts of trippy vocal effects and echoed drums that sound just SO great…
Roger Glover and Ian Gillan quit the group in 1969 to join Deep Purple.
”I can feel,
I can hear,
I can see through you”
THE HERD – ’From The Underworld’/’Sweet William’ (Fontana TF 856) August 1967
I’ve highlighted The Herd a couple of times on my blog over the years, you’ll find the entries in the archives.
’From The Underworld’ was a big hit for the group and the single eventually peaked at number 6 in the UK charts during October 1967.
’From The Underworld’ has a big production with church bells, strings, and a choir all moulded together with some great sounding fuzz guitar. The song was written by the hit making team of Howard-Blaikley (responsible for the DDDBM&T pop overtures).
The little known B-side ’Sweet William’ is a gem made even better with the inclusion of period ’67 mod hammond groove. This song was a group original written by Andy Bown and Peter Frampton. Who knows what The Herd could have come up with if they hadn’t gone all out for the pop hits?
”Oh sweet William, please don’t pick the flowers”
SIMON DUPREE AND THE BIG SOUND – ’For Whom The Bell Tolls’/’Sleep’ (Parlophone R 5670) March 1968
Back in 2008 I wrote about this group’s hit record called ’Kites’. Sounding very similar to late period Moody Blues, ’For Whom The Bell Tolls’ was their follow up to the whimsical psychedelia of ’Kites’, this too had a psych sound with mellotron but was more pop than whimsy. The record stalled at number 43 in the Charts and would have been considered a flop.
The flip ’Sleep’ again utilizes the mellotron and has a sound closer to the progressive ballads they would record under their new name of Gentle Giant a couple of years down the line.
THE JYNX PACK – ’She’s In Love’/’I Can’t Make Up My Mind’ (Mercury 72501) Oct 1965
This very obscure record was released only in USA on Mercury by The Jynx Pack and naturally the combo were considered by many as an American group. However, I was never convinced and raised the question over 3 years ago on the G45 Forum.
Since then it has been confirmed that The Jynx Pack were in fact an English group whose members didn’t even know that their recordings, probably recorded at Maximum Sound Studio in South East London, had been released. Lead singer Bill Cox confirmed this when he left a message on the rarely updated ’Peach Fuzz Forest’ website.
Both sides of this disc are moody beat numbers with just a touch of freakiness, especially in the guitar breaks.
Yeah, I know….posts have slowed down somewhat lately….Too busy researching Cornish music scene in the 60s & 70s (www.kernowbeat.co.uk)
PFF is in in semi-retirement, but not dead yet! As ever, a great selection of posts and I really should post more often to say thank you for the great records and write ups
THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN – ’Fire!’/’Rest Cure’ (Track 604022) June 1968
Track Records supremo and The Who Manager Kit Lambert produced this totally original psychedelic rock song by the weird and wonderful Arthur Brown and his associates. I can still remember the first time I saw the grainy black and white images of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown performing the huge hit ’Fire!’ on a repeated episode of a 1968 Top Of The Pops show.
The fella had some helmet thing on his head and flames were spitting out from it from all angles. The display would never get past the over the top ’health and safety’ brigade these days. But that was the 60s and it was a world before we were all forced to be mollycoddled for our own well being.
’Fire!’ hit the top spot within weeks and was the one and only time The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown would have their day in the sun.
Guitarist, Vincent Crane went on to form prog rock group Atomic Rooster whilst drummer Carl Palmer made his name in ELP.
In the late 90s I attended a Record Fair held at Newcastle University. The special guest for the day was Arthur Brown. My lasting memory was seeing Mr Brown wandering around one of the corridors outside the main venue, looking lost and confused.
I then overheard him ask someone, ”Where are the toilets mate?”
I guess even the ’God Of Hellfire’ needs to pee.
C.C.S. – ’Whole Lotta Love’/’Boom Boom’ (Columbia 2C 006-91.810M) Sept 1970
By the end of the 60s men had started growing fashionable but ridiculous Jason King style ’handle bar’ tashes and their girlfriends had decided to burn their cheap and ill fitting brassieres. Music also saw some drastic changes with a shift from psych to progressive and heavy rock.
Traditional Blues guitarist Alexis Korner was no different and he formed heavy rock outfit Collective Consciousness Society or the less of a mouthful C.C.S. with a selective band of session musicians and up and coming hip producer Mickie Most.
Korner’s band of outsiders recorded an instro version of Led Zeppelin’s ’Whole Lotta Love’ b/w John Lee Hooker’s ’Boom Boom’ and scored an unlikely hit at the tail end of 1970.
The record reached number 13 in the UK charts and was used as the theme tune for music show ’Top Of The Pops’.
However, I did some research recently and according to the BBC website technically, the TOTP theme was not by CCS, but was recorded by the TOTP orchestra one morning before the day’s rehearsals.
Having said that, the band was conducted by John Cameron on that occasion and many of the musicians were CCS regulars. This enabled the production to tailor the tune to the correct duration and, more importantly, avoided the weekly payment of royalties to the record label.
Yet again proof that the BBC have always been a bunch of tight fisted gets.
THE EASYBEATS – ’Friday On My Mind’/’Made My Bed; Gonna Lie In It’ (United Artists UP 1157) October 1966
By 1966, Australian band The Easybeats had conquered their homeland although most people probably don’t realise that all band members were from post WWII families who had migrated to Australia from England, Scotland and Holland.
’Easyfever’ had taken hold of the Aussie teens and they couldn’t get enough of this raucous beat group and their insanely catchy tunes. Quite rightly, The Easybeats planned to stretch themselves musically and relocated to London, England in July 1966.
Thousands thronged Sydney airport to cheer their heroes on their way to Swingin’ London, possibly including fans such as Rolf Harris, Crocodile Dundee, Skippy ’the Bush Kangaroo’, Dame Edna and the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H…
Recordings took place at Abbey Road Studios under the leadership of the famed hip producer Shel Talmy. The first fruits of their labour were the incredible smash hit single ’Friday On My Mind’.
Check out the flip ’Made My Bed: Gonna Lie In It’ which has always been a massive personal favourite.
BOEING DUVEEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL SOUP – ’Jabberwock’/’Which Dreamed It?’ (Parlophone R 5696) May 1968
Hmmn, how could I follow my previous posting of ’I Am The Walrus’…Well, let Dr Sam Hutt take you on a trip with his way out and demented ’Jabberwock’.
The song lyrics are based on the creature from Lewis Carroll’s ’Alice In Wonderland’, so much so, that Dr Hutt gives the tripped out Victorian author a co-credit.
Dr Hutt came to prominence in the 60s by legally prescribing potent LSD to the famous rock stars at his drug addiction surgery in Ladbroke Grove, London. His association with hip London musicians and acid only meant one thing… A trip to the recording studio.
’Jabberwock’ can be found on Rubble 14 – ’The Magic Rocking Horse’.
THE ESCORTS – ’Dizzy Miss Lizzy’/’All I Want Is You’ (Fontana TF 453) March 1964
The Escorts played at Liverpool’s Cavern Club during the same period as their friends The Beatles. Indeed they beat their rivals at being the first mersey group to record Larry Williams’ classic ’Dizzy Miss Lizzy’.
The Escorts version has a youthful teenbeat sound with a crisp backing. According to the liners of the long outta print Escorts retrospective on the Edsel label, band members Terry Sylvester and Mike Gregory dismiss the 45 citing the lack of production skills by Jack Baverstock.
Despite a tour with Gene Pitney, Billy J Kramer and Cilla Black to promote their debut record, The Escorts never charted in England. At least they had some sharp suits and boots and one of my favourite band logos from the 60s.
THE EQUALS – ’I Get So Excited’/’The Skies Above’ (President PT 180) January 1968
I wrote about another mod cruncher by The Equals a couple of years ago, you’ll find that review in the archives ’I Can See But You Don’t Know’.
’I Get So Excited’ was a small hit of sorts in England (got to number 44) but it’s the mod psych crossover of the flip ’The Skies Above’ which is the real gem here by this London reggae/pop outfit led by Eddie Grant. He also wrote this killer.
Sadly, it’s one of the hardest Equals discs to track down.
Here’s a rare picture of The Equals that I’ve scanned from the 1970 Teenbeat Annual.
THE APPLEJACKS – ’Tell Me When’/’Baby Jane’ (Decca F.11833) Feb 1964
So here we are, the first entry in my ’Made In Britain’ series and it’s the debut 45 by a beat group from Solihull in the West Midlands. I’m no big fan of The Applejacks and I’ve only got this one record in my collection.
The music I’ve heard by them is very much at the ’square’ end of things (ie) chirpy smiling faces, a bloke wearing national health specs, short hair and suits that a Bank Clerk would wear for work (or at least would in the 60s)……in other words too corporate and clean cut.
Their best ever recording is ’Baby Jane’, the flip of this Top 10 single from February 1964. It was written by the Dello and Cane partnership who would eventually form their own group called Honeybus a few years down the line.
’Baby Jane’ is tough sounding beat, it’s just a shame that they didn’t stick with this sound.
THE ZEPHYRS – ’There’s Something About You’/’She’s Lost You’ (Columbia DB7481) Feb 1965
I’ve got this two sided winner on the American imprint Rotate Records which appears to be easier to find than the UK issue on Columbia Records.
’She’s Lost You’ was a small hit in England reaching number 48 in early 1965. Seems a shame for such a great R’n’B/mod group that they’re almost completely overlooked despite having the ’in’ sound to break through to the next level.
Sadly, this well dressed London based mod band missed out on deserved acclaim despite ace producer Shel Talmy’s production skills.
The B-Side ’There’s Something About You’ really swings with beatitude and combo organ. Dig the high quality film of The Zephyrs performing this all time classic forgotten jewel.